Tag Archives: Hats by Felicity

Station hand stitches

It’s definitely a huge relief that my millinery collection bound for NYFW is complete and on its way. All the other jobs on the NYFW to do list, however, just keep coming … the models, their shoes, dresses, hair and makeup, the music, promotional goods, naming, pricing, programs, media and of course the question on everyone’s lips, what I am going to wear?
Among the ever consuming list of Fashion Week preparations, we’ve also had the Broome race round and the famous Ladies Day and Cup Day.
I finally finished creating the last Broome Cup bespoke commission piece, which incidentally I am proud to say was for the Hon Julie Bishop, on the eve of the race event which was just in the nic of time to make it to the local Broome rodeo.
This annual, action packed, rough riding event brings the bush to town for an evening of thrills and spills and for most, is the perfect warm up for the Broome Cup races the next day.
My visiting girlfriends and I were throwing down some celebratory beverages to signify my finishing all hats and our long and overdue reunion, when we were introduced to Arno, a young station hand from a Kimberley cattle station.
Arno was working for friends of mine so I had already heard about this handy backpacker that within moments had us greatly entertained. His story telling combined with his Belgium accent had us in fits of laughter, particularly with the story of working on the horse barriers at Ladies Day, when he noticed a lady with a shocking rip in her dress. Arno had us on the edge of the rodeo arena with the story of how he whisked her away into his van and promptly sewed up her dress. Who would have guessed that Arno the station hand was a Belgium fashion designer as well?
“Show us your work” we echoed as the dust filled our jaw dropped mouths. With one eye focussed on the bull ride, the other scrolled the exquisite fashion work of Arno, our new and fashionable friend.
“Perhaps you could make my after party dress for New York Fashion week” I said, to which he excitedly replied “Of course”.
Well, that was the beginning of another thread to this journey. Arno grabbed an empty pizza box half buried in the arena dirt and after finally finding a pen, he quickly started to sketch.

“I can’t have anything long” I said, because my legs are short”.
“I know”. He replied.
“And I don’t have a waist,” I quickly added.
“I know” he said, with a slight edge of pity. How he could see these self confessed flaws I had no idea, as I was wearing a jacket, scarf and jeans.
Within minutes the crowd around Arno and his pizza box grew and when he revealed the final draft of my after party dress everyone gasped as loudly as when the ringer proposed to his girlfriend in the arena earlier that night.
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The next day Arno arrived to take my measurements and borrow my sewing machine to set up at his campsite in Broome and sew a practice dress. Four hours later he was back and pinning me into this draft creation that I would have been happy to wear to the races! This is one very talented man!
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The next day I met Arno to purchase his chosen materials for the final masterpiece and set him up in my hat studio before I headed off to my day job. I returned that evening to be pinned into the creation that had me speechless. I felt like a princess, like Carrie Bradshaw herself on the streets of New York. I was in awe.

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After a few more alterations and an early night, Arno set off for the four hour drive back to the cattle Station where he spent the week fencing and working with cattle by day and sewing my NYFW after party dress by night.
I’m yet to see the final product that will come into town from the Station this week but I’m feeling completely confident and totally excited that while other tasks remain unachieved on the NYFW list, not only do we have yet another magnificent chapter to this story but I have no doubt I will also soon have a spectacular, truly unique NYFW after party dress.
Keep smiling and stay tuned …

and here’s Julie Bishop in her Hats by Felicity headpiece.

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The white sky wish

I wished for a white sky and when you live in Broome, WA where each day is sunny and the perfect hue of blue, a white sky is quite the far fetched wish.

However, on the July morning of the Hats by Felicity parade at Broome Turf Club where I unveiled the 2014 collection, we woke to a chilly, windy and white sky in Broome.

Photographer Tao and I could not believe our luck.

The NYFW runway at the Helen Mills Event space where I will soon unveil the NYFW collection is white and I wanted to see how my hats will pop amongst white, hence the white sky wish.

The Hats by Felicity collection was paraded on an outdoor stage at the Broome Turf club event, however, you could definitely think these photos were taken in a studio room.

Thanks to the white sky wish, the below visuals showcase my current, local collection perfectly.  I love the end result.

You can see why I am ridiculously excited to see how the currently under wraps but soon to be released NYFW collection is about to pop!

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Keep smiling.  x f

 

Love the luck

This morning I went for my beach walk. I haven’t been on my morning ritual for a while and was chomping at the bit to top that stairwell and soak in the magnificence that is Cable Beach. My mornings have been otherwise consumed by sewing last minute touches for bespoke commission pieces, cleaning The Quarters, my accommodation business that is well booked at this time of the year and trying to rid a chest cold and cough that snuck in when I wasn’t looking. This morning though, I pledged myself the joy of getting back on that beach. It was a chilly morning (yes, Broome gets cool) so I put the car keys in the pocket of my hoodie, unravelled my earphones and listened to True Blue, that my iPhone shuffle so aptly played as I topped the stairwell over the beach. Ahhh that scene.

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I headed off in my regular direction towards Gantheume point and quickly found myself immersed in the morning. My thoughts were racing and they were all over the place, from the sleeping arrangements of our apartment in New York to wondering where in the world my brother’s job has him travelling today and how white my legs look in the parade photos and other small world stuff. I had walked for about 30 minutes and hadn’t even looked into the ocean where I often see a beautiful family of sting ray or better still at this time of the year, whales. I noticed a golden ray of sunshine on the boats anchored off Gantheume point and then realised how far I had walked – almost too far to ensure I make it back home for a shower and to work on time. I quickly turned, annoyed at myself for not taking in the scene and instead thinking about how well my friends would sleep on the eve of my New York Fashion Week show. I couldn’t even remember what music had played in my ears. I love to jog up the stairwell at the end of each walk. Grabbing my pockets for the impending run, I froze in horror with the realisation that my pocket was empty and my keys were gone! House keys, car key, mail key, padlock keys, work keys, you name it. There was nothing in the pocket except a hole. I looked back up that long stretch of beach. I couldn’t even remember how far up I had walked. I ran back to my car in the hope I had lost them at the beginning of the walk; but nothing. Aware of the time and the hopeless task before me I headed back to the beach and embarked what I could only hope was a similar path to what I had walked this morning. Taking a deep breath I focused on the footprints in the sand and on each shell and rock that protruded from every ounce of beach. I couldn’t believe I had been so consumed with small world stuff that I didn’t hear or feel my keys fall through my pocket. Usually I notice the birds, the crabs and sea life, the boats anchored and heading out to the horizon and the cloud formations in the sky. This morning I didn’t even know where I had walked. I walked and scanned but after reaching the end point I thought I had made it to earlier, decided to turn home and while still searching for the keys, started to make some plans about what to do when I got back to my car, presuming my car would still be there. Scanning the beach and devising the plan, I had almost made it back to the stairs having done my hour walk a second time, when the red tag popped out of the sand in front of me. There, right in my trail, amongst the many foot prints of sand, on the big Cable Beach, was my full set of keys. I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face. I bounced up the stairs, turned towards the ocean and thanked the day. How was my luck? I couldn’t believe it.

My morning walks have always been my grounding. I have forever maintained the reason I can achieve the often ridiculous schedule of life events is because I spend the morning with the beach. Cable beach passed on a very clear message to me this morning and I took it on board. What was I doing sweating the small stuff? I was so consumed, even having sleepless nights by silly, petty, worries and thoughts when all the while I have much bigger fish to fry. This morning reminded me to focus.

In six weeks I will be flying over Cable Beach, out of Australia and over to New York Fashion Week where I will represent the country as the first Australian on the runway at the Helen Mills Event Space, Chelsea, New York; showcasing my millinery passion to the world.


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Thank you, Cable Beach and thank you sweet lady Broome.

I’m focused again, albeit with stiff legs and sore calf muscles.

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New York state of mind

Apparently there is only three months till I am on the runway of New York Fashion Week!

I don’t know where to begin. The white board has a jobs list, the infamous Roebuck Bay coloured green diary has a multitude of lists, there are pieces of paper strewn across the house and post it pads all over my computers and walls and fridges with more and more lists; even the kitchen blackboard has a list BUT I don’t feel I am getting anywhere near achieving the New York Fashion Week list of jobs to do – and I’m due on the runway in THREE months time!

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We all move through life saying how fast time is passing but I have to say, i’m with those that believe 2014 is on speed!

Since the last update, the models shoes look like they might be close to sorted with the Fashion Gallery helping me find a suitable choice. The Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) has recommended and introduced me to a designer for the dresses and most importantly, my own runway collection is underway.

But there came a time when I couldn’t move in the studio, with headpieces hidden everywhere so I decided to have a viewing night.

I am blessed with friends. I have the most supportive, proactive, encouraging and committed friends and i’m still pinching myself that over a dozen of them are making the trip to New York for the Fashion Week event.

A few friends who are coming to NYFW and one that should be ...

A few friends who are coming to NYFW and one that should be …

I want to give these beautiful friends the experience of a life time when my creations enter the room and therefore have decided they are not allowed to see any part of the collection until they are sitting there, poised in their VIP chairs on the runway at the Helen Mills Events Space for the New York Fashion Week event.

Some of these fabulous friends have been less inclined to accept this unexpected fate but I stand firm and hence, they were not invited to the viewing night.

One of these dear friends who is coming to New York lives on a remote cattle station 10 hours drive from Broome, in the middle of the desert. When Jane makes it to town I am so excited and can’t wait to catch up with her (and kids and husband too) and you wouldn’t believe it but Jane was in town for the School of the air camp school when the viewing night was on. We couldn’t have planned it better but what was that great decision of mine? …. not allowed?! Oh dear … remind me why I made that rule? I felt SO cruel!

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Enjoying the hospitality of Jane and family at Yougawalla station

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Jane is so into her millinery – even when she’s out mustering cattle

The Viewing night was filled with friends that have been on the journey with me, have always shown an interest but who won’t be in New York for the show; along with a few party crashers that I completely welcomed. I am still overwhelmed that ten of the 20 guests were men.

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Twenty people in my lounge room and I was nervous! What the hell am I going to do on the runway of New York Fashion Week?! I was however, thrilled at how seriously my friends took the judging part of the night and can’t thank them enough for the comments, the constructive criticism and their valued input. It’s everyone’s journey to New York and I love that my friends know it!

I know I said I wasn’t going to show any pics of pieces from the viewing night but this sacrifice headpiece viewed on the Today Show is the ONE allowed ..

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Wishing you laughter, giggles and fun beautiful people.

It’s back to the studio and all those jobs lists for me!  x f

Keep calm again

Thank you

For almost a week now I have been trying to find the right words to express my heartfelt thanks for the crowd funding link and the surprise event in Broome. The New York themed fundraisers have honoured not only my opportunity to the runway but also, they have most humbly honoured me.

I’m not convinced I will ever be able to convey what this act of superb kindness has done for me and I may not know everyone involved but to those precious people who have donated through the pozible site, the girls at Broome Florist, Green Tree Room, Leon Mead, Chris Maher, Garrett Prendiville and the Mangrove team; Kira and the Kimberley Girls, Marissa & Ross, Target, Carpet Paint & Tile; those super-generous beings who donated exquisite items to auction; my brother Matt, my friends who travelled across the country from the desert and the city and to the magnificent Community of beyond and Broome – Thank You.

As for those women of magnificence, my friends that planned this event and established the site and have constantly supported me so well – sometimes I struggle with the right words and when naming my creations I often suffer the same.

To each of you who have done this for me, I honour you through my collection bound for New York.

When the Hats by Felicity creations present to the runway and the world, … I will introduce to you; the Natasha, Hilary, Holly, Penelope, Jodi, Vinka and Sam; the Trish, Kylie, Ellyn, Josie, Kelli, Melanie, Anne-Marie, Leah and Jane.

This is my honour to you … and now the entire collection is almost named.

Thank you. x flic

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Hats by Felicity Crowd Funding Link

A Sun Kissed Valentine

Twelve months ago today I experienced a very different kind of Valentine’s Day, enduring the first of two surgeries to remove the nasty melanoma from my arm.  Melly-the-noma as the legion was known was the beginning of an adventure that I could have never predicted.  But here we are, 12 months on, healthy, sporting a scar and preparing for the runway of New York.

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February 2013

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February 2014

“How are the preparations going?” many have asked.  Well, I’m slowly getting over the creator’s block that unexpectedly snuck in and so far, the timetable seems to be working.  I have completed six pieces in total since the New Year, not all bound for New York but I definitely deem a few worthy of the trip.

And I can’t help myself – I have to share a few sneak peeks with you …

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February in Broome is not the ideal time to be working in a tin shed.  I usually don’t start the year’s creating until it’s less humid and hot but given this year’s New York deadline, the studio shed lights are on.

I have arranged for the tin doors to be replaced, which will not only help the struggling air conditioner to cope but will provide me with some glorious natural light. The glass doors haven’t arrived yet but hopefully soon.

Not working in my normal environment isn’t conducive to productivity.  I’ve been working in my house, trekking to and from the shed, sometimes just for a thimble.  Fingers crossed the new doors arrive soon and this milliner can be on the move back into the shed atelier.

My New York story is generating media interest with journalists from all over dropping me a line; there’s even a film crew sniffing about.  Of course I am completely out of my depth with this. I am used to interviewing and being on the viewfinder side of the camera, so I have yelled (loudly and with a quiver) for help from a very experienced and treasured friend, to whom I can tell I am about to be indebted forever.

Feathers and other goodies have been coming in from around Australia, for which I say the biggest thank you.  I love hand collected feathers, not only for their natural beauty but for the chapter they add to the unique story of each headpiece.

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You will always here me praise my amazing friends and this post is no exception.  A cheeky group of buddies from both within and external to the Broome Community have been quietly organising an event in my honour, to celebrate the impending New York Fashion Week honour.  Of course they aren’t being forward with too many details but I’m told patience is the virtue so I’m waiting very patiently!

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The Kimberley has been enjoying such a big Wet season.  Plants in my garden are flowering that I didn’t know even flowered.  The inspiration is endless.

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As well as creating the collection, my current focus is my health, especially given the diagnosis twelve months ago.  I have completed a seven day detox to cleanse the internals and get back on track.   I find February a good time to successfully achieve this often quite difficult task.  By this time the New Year celebrations have subsided and my favourite Australia Day and its associated silliness has come and gone.

And of course there’s no better exercise than a morning walk along Cable Beach.

So, as I head for my six monthly skin check, I encourage any of you with sun kissed skin like mine to book your appointment too.

Till next time … Valentine giggles all round.

x Felicity

Concrete jungle where dreams are made of

Let’s hear it for New York, New York, New York …
Happy New Year beautiful people! I hope 2014 is everything that you dream for and is filled with health, friends, family, giggles, bubbles and fun.
This is going to be a big year for me, especially with the New York adventure and many have hinted how super organised I’ll need to be. Truth is, every year is bigger than the last, so I thought I’d share with you how I prepare for the onslaught.
My favourite way to start the New Year is by making plans, so the first purchase for 2014 was a wall planner and diary. For a brief moment I thought this would be the year to rid the hard copy and shift to technology but that was a brief moment that I decided against, as there’s no nicer way to start the year than with a gorgeous new diary to pencil in your holiday plans, work, business and other commitments and daily jobs lists, ready to tick off as you achieve.
I choose a colourful diary with soft textured cover; something that looks good and feels good, which is all very important. This year’s colour is the Roebuck Bay green that I always strive to achieve in my creations.
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Holidays and weekend get-a-ways are the first entries in my calendar, followed by my small business commitments and then work. The latter is the easiest as I work full time so it’s a given that Monday to Friday will be spent at work, along with some overnight’s in the region. It’s the before and after work and weekend entries that I spend time planning.
The first entry on the planner and diary this year was, of course, New York.         In September this Milliner will be on the move to the United States for what will undoubtedly be the adventure of a lifetime. Sunday September 7th has a feather attached to it being the day I unveil Hats by Felicity to the world on the runway at New York Fashion week.
S H U D D E R ….

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To make sure I survive the year’s challenges, I put into practice the self-care plan. Those that know me well, know I take the self-care plan very seriously. Since early 2000 I have implemented my Monday nights – the sacred night that is dedicated to me. Flic nite as it’s affectionately known to friends and family, is the night I politely say no to all invitations; the night I am completely comfortable in doing nothing. Lucky for me Monday can often be a good TV line up. It’s also the night that my close friends and family phone for a yarn. Sometimes I book a massage or facial. It’s about stopping to smell the frangipanis, enjoy my space and reenergise. We live in such a busy world filled with food, bubbles, work and play that without jumping off the coaster at least one night a week, for me at least, the chances of burn out are big. Those closest to me completely respect my Monday nights and never pressure or expect me to make the exception.

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Although quite passive compared to others, the next entry is the exercise plan. My exercise program usually involves alternate mornings of gardening and beach walks before work. These forms of exercise are great for the body and the mind AND for inspiration for millinery creation.
Those that follow my Hats by Felicity Instagram are often privy to my morning shots of inspiration, particularly from Cable Beach. Broome and the Kimberley are endless sources of inspiration.

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The self care plan and exercise program are diarised along with dedicated timeframes for my passion and art that is the Millinery.
Taking on full time work meant a very real need for planning. It’s such a pleasure to spend Saturday’s working for yourself, which is my dedicated day for Hats by Felicity. When the Broome race round commences I may need to start a little earlier on Saturday mornings however, as I can’t miss a day at Broome races.
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Equally as important to all the above is dedicating time to the cancer cause with fundraising and catching up for bubbles and fun with my awesome friends.
With commitments to holidays, getaways, my self-care plan, work, millinery, fundraising, friends and fun, I look forward to filling the remaining spaces with whatever opportunities come my way.
Having a plan is important to me but I also like to remain flexible because you just never know what opportunities might come your way. I am not too hard on myself if my plan diverts (with the exception of Flic nite), after all we can’t forget that life is for living.
To bounce out of bed of a morning I have set my alarm to wake me with Alicia Keys singing Empire State of Mind. With a year like this ahead, it can only be a good day waking to the chorus of New York, New York, New York …
So there you have it, a snippet into my kick start for 2014. If any of these ideas appeal to you, please take a feather from my hat. My other advice is surround yourself with positive and loyal people who celebrate the excitement of your dreams.
Cheers and Happy 2014. x f

New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There’s nothin’ you can’t do
Now you’re in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Let’s hear it for New York, New York,
New York